- President Duterte announced recently that he is separating from the US economically and in relation to the military
- Senators were outraged by the pronouncements and said that such was an act of communism
- De Lima said he betrayed Filipinos by making the announcement for the first time in front of a foreign audience
President Duterte’s visit to China was, for some Filipinos, a means to expand the ties of the Philippines with other Asian nations. However, many were taken aback, astonished, angered and some senators outraged, when Duterte made a statement in front of foreign nationals, declaring that he is separating from the United States in both economic and military aspects.
According to one of the President’s staunchest critics, Senator Leila De Lima, the President’s act of announcing “for the first time in front of foreigners” is a whole level of betrayal.
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She said that it is one thing to keep the members of his Cabinet in the dark, but it’s another to keep it from the Filipino people.
Senator Leila De Lima has been one of the members of the panel who brought the case of the Philippines regarding the Scarborough Shoal to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, which earned a favorable ruling.
According to the feisty lady Senator, Duterte has a horrible foreign policy. In addition, borrowing the words of Senator Richard Gordon, De Lima said that it was a form of “material concealment” as it is not what Filipinos wanted.
Based on the latest SWS survey Filipinos trust the United States more than China. In the said survey, the US received a very good rating while China received a negative “bad” rating.
De Lima also mentioned that the visit of the President is more of an extravagance considering that China would roll out the red carpet, give the finest wines and treat people like kings and queens. This is what a visit to China really is.
De Lima pointed out that the President is now turning his back from the promise that he made that he will abide by the Constitution.
“Huwag mong ibenta ang mga Pilipino sa ideolohiyang tatalikod sa minamahal nilang kalayaan at demokratikong pamumuhay sa ilalim ng ating Konstitusyon. Nangako kang tatalima sa Konstitusyon, do it. You have no right to put yourself above the sovereignty of the people. Hindi ka diyos,” she said.
(Don't sell out the Philippines to ideologies against their beloved freedom and democratic way of life enshrined in our Constitution. You promised to follow the Constitution, do it. You have no right to put yourself above the sovereignty of the people. You're not a god.)
It is not only De Lima who was outraged by the President’s act of consorting with China, Minority Leader Ralph Recto also condemns the decision of Duterte saying that while the relationship of the Philippines with the United States is not perfect, a country (China), which has illegally built a wall of sand in the seas that rightfully belongs to the Philippines is far from being a good friend.
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Recto also said that one doesn’t just blurt-out a shift in foreign policy. It has to be well-thought of, considering the far-reaching implications it has.
On the other hand, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said that Duterte must be a communist considering that he gives China much favor and he appoints and frees communists.